If you are web designer, chances are you include forums on at least some of the sites you manage. If you haven't explored PHPBB2 you are missing out as this type of message board offers to designers a forum that is well supported, easy to manage, and above all else: free! Let's see why PHPBB2 is a hit with so many web designers.
Compared to some web designers, I am relatively new to the business. I created my first forum with MSN groups in 2002 then, six months later, I made the move over to EZBoard. Sure, it did not have all the bells and whistles of vBulletin and other corporate developed boards, but it did the trick for me. That is, until EZBoard was hacked and my livelihood nearly disappeared in moments some two years later!
In search of something different, I considered the move to vBulletin, but I was quite frankly not wanting to shell out license and upgrade fees on a regular basis. At the time of the EZBoard incident, I was running six forums, so I knew that I would eventually have about that many when I completed my transition away from EZBoard.
So, why PHPBB2? For three reasons:
1. It is free. Yes, absolutely! Since it is "open source" code, developed by the developers, it is offered as a free download to whosoever will. Believe me that is a big appeal and, apparently, many designers around the world feel the same way as over 200,000 people are members of their support forum.
2. It can be used across platforms. Whether you work in Windows or Linux, IIS or Apache PHPBB2 is usable and fully functionable.
3. Highly modifiable. Open Source extensibility is evident with the incorporation of PHP, HTML, CSS, and MySQL into the forum.
For the novice, PHPBB2 does take some getting used to especially since you are responsible for installing, maintaining, backing up, upgrading, and modifying your own forum. For your benefit you can access onsite Flash tutorials which are a great way to walk your way through the installation process too. As with any software it is vulnerable to outside attacks, so take care to make sure you regularly back up your forums and familiarize yourself with the security procedures.
In all, PHP message boards really do rock and at a price that cannot possibly be beat!
Matt runs two PHPBB2 sites at http://www.aviationemploymentboard.net and http://www.corporateflyer.net